America in Nonfiction

The United States has a multi-faceted, interesting history. Here in New England we are soaked in it. America's cultural (and culinary!) history is just as fascinating. This list is meant to bring twenty books on this subject to your attention - from history to essay collection to memoir to cultural study to cookbook. Be curious! Celebrate Independence Day with knowledge!

Homegrown: Cooking from My New England Roots Cover Image
ISBN: 9781579656744
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Published: Artisan - October 17th, 2017

James Beard Award Finalist

IACP Award Finalist

Named a Best Cookbook of the Year by the Los Angeles Times, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Rachael Ray Every Day, and Fine Cooking

A Game-Changing Chef Redefines a Classic American Cuisine

In his debut cookbook, chef Matt Jennings honors the iconic foods o

God, War, and Providence: The Epic Struggle of Roger Williams and the Narragansett Indians against the Puritans of New England Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501180422
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Published: Scribner - June 18th, 2019

The tragic and fascinating history of the first epic struggle between white settlers and Native Americans in the early seventeenth century: “a riveting historical validation of emancipatory impulses frustrated in their own time” (Booklist, starred review) as determined Narragansett Indians refused to back down and accept English authority.

A devout Puritan minister

Little Pink House: A True Story of Defiance and Courage Cover Image
ISBN: 9780446508629
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Published: Grand Central Publishing - January 26th, 2009


Sudden Sea: The Great Hurricane of 1938 Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316832113
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Published: Back Bay Books - August 24th, 2004

The massive destruction wreaked by the Hurricane of 1938 dwarfed that of the Chicago Fire, the San Francisco Earthquake, and the Mississippi floods of 1927, making the storm the worst natural disaster in U.S. history. Now, R.A. Scotti tells the story.


"Nathaniel Philbrick is a masterly storyteller. Here he seeks to elevate the naval battles between the French and British to a central place in the history of the American Revolution. He succeeds, marvelously."--The New York Times Book Review

Gilded Suffragists: The New York Socialites Who Fought for Women's Right to Vote Cover Image
ISBN: 9781479806621
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Published: New York University Press - March 1st, 2019

New York City's elite women who turned a feminist cause into
a fashionable revolution

The City-State of Boston: The Rise and Fall of an Atlantic Power, 1630-1865 Cover Image
ISBN: 9780691179995
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Published: Princeton University Press - April 23rd, 2019

A groundbreaking history of early America that shows how Boston built and sustained an independent city-state in New England before being folded into the United States

Barons of the Sea: And Their Race to Build the World's Fastest Clipper Ship Cover Image
ISBN: 9781476745985
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Published: Simon & Schuster - July 2nd, 2019

“A fascinating, fast-paced history…full of remarkable characters and incredible stories” about the nineteenth-century American dynasties who battled for dominance of the tea and opium trades (Nathaniel Philbrick, National Book Award-winning author of In the Heart of the Sea).

There was a time, back when the United States was young and the robber barons were

The Source: How Rivers Made America and America Remade Its Rivers Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393356618
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Published: W. W. Norton & Company - March 19th, 2019

“An original and thought-provoking exploration of the sinuous course that water has carved through our economic and political landscape.” —Gerard Helferich, Wall Street Journal

The Longest Line on the Map: The United States, the Pan-American Highway, and the Quest to Link the Americas Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501103902
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Published: Scribner - January 8th, 2019

From the award-winning author of American Canopy, a dazzling account of the world’s longest road, the Pan-American Highway, and the epic quest to link North and South America, a dramatic story of commerce, technology, politics, and the divergent fates of the Americas in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

The Pan-American Highway, monument to a century&

Buttermilk Graffiti: A Chef's Journey to Discover America's New Melting-Pot Cuisine Cover Image
ISBN: 9781579659004
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Published: Artisan - March 5th, 2019

Winner, 2019 James Beard Award for Best Book of the Year in Writing

Finalist, 2019 IACP Award, Literary Food Writing

Named a Best Food Book of the Year by the Boston Globe, Smithsonian, BookRiot, and more
Semifinalist, Goodreads Choice Awards

“Thoughtful, well researched, and truly moving.

An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States (REVISIONING HISTORY #3) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780807057834
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Published: Beacon Press - August 11th, 2015

2015 Recipient of the American Book Award

The first history of the United States told from the perspective of indigenous peoples


Ruthless Tide: The Heroes and Villains of the Johnstown Flood, America's Astonishing Gilded Age Disaster Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062445537
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Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - April 16th, 2019

Reads like a nail-biting thriller.” — Library Journal, starred review

A gripping new history celebrating the remarkable heroes of the Johnstown Flood—the deadliest flood in U.S. history—from NBC host and legendary weather authority Al Roker

The Last Pirate of New York: A Ghost Ship, a Killer, and the Birth of a Gangster Nation Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399589928
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Published: Spiegel & Grau - June 4th, 2019

Was he New York City’s last pirate . . . or its first gangster? This is the true story of the bloodthirsty underworld legend who conquered Manhattan, dock by dock—for fans of Gangs of New York and Boardwalk Empire.

The Poison Squad: One Chemist's Single-Minded Crusade for Food Safety at the Turn of the Twentieth Century Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781594205149
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Penguin Press - September 25th, 2018

A New York Times Notable Book 

From Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times-bestselling author Deborah Blum, the dramatic true story of how food was made safe in the United States and the heroes, led by the inimitable Dr. Harvey Washington Wiley, who fought for change

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594633157
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Published: Riverhead Books - January 22nd, 2019




The Gay Metropolis: The Landmark History of Gay Life in America Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802147202
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Published: Grove Press - June 4th, 2019

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year and winner of a Lambda Literary Award, The Gay Metropolis is a landmark saga of struggle and triumph that was instantly recognized as the most authoritative and substantial work of its kind. Now, for the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall uprisings, Charles Kaiser has brought this history into the twenty-first century.

White Shoe: How a New Breed of Wall Street Lawyers Changed Big Business and the American Century Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524743253
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Published: Dutton - March 19th, 2019

The fascinating true story of how a group of visionary attorneys helped make American business synonymous with Big Business, and Wall Street the center of the financial world

Ghosts of Gold Mountain: The Epic Story of the Chinese Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad Cover Image
ISBN: 9781328618573
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Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - May 7th, 2019

“Gripping… Chang has accomplished the seemingly impossible… he has written a remarkably rich, human and compelling story of the railroad Chinese.”—Peter Cozzens, Wall Street Journal

A groundbreaking, breathtaking history of the Chinese workers who built the Transcontinental Railroad, helping to forge modern America only to disappear into t